Thursday, October 23, 2014
OCT 23 POPE FRANCIS RENTS OUT SISTINE CHAPEL FOR PRIVATE PARTY
Talk about an evening to remember! It began with a private concert featuring the choir from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. Since 1585, they have dazzled Romans with their symphonic brilliance. Next, guests were served fancy cocktails and light refreshments. Then, a formal gala dinner was served by tuxedo clad waitstaff. While this may seem like a common evening in the Italian capital, the setting on Saturday night was unbelievable. This event took place in the Sistine Chapel under Michelangelo's famous frescoes.
See, this is the first time in the 541 year history of the famed chapel that it has been rented out for a private event. The Sistine was built by the forward-looking Pope Sixtus IV. He envisioned a stupendous 'House of God' to serve as the primary center of worship for the clergy of the Holy See. To accomplish his dream, the Pope rounded up the most innovative artists of the day. Botticelli, Raphael and Michelangelo were summoned to Rome to create an artistic masterpiece. They succeeded. A visit to the Sistine Chapel is truly unforgettable.
While many are cheering Pope Francis and his 'Robin Hood' tactics of taking from the wealthy to give to the needy, historians are concerned. The bottom line is that leasing out sanctified structures for money is a touchy subject. It reminds us of when Pope Leo X routinely administered 'indulgences' in return for monetary support. This is what started the whole Reformation. A church that could be bought is not holy.